Friday, June 27, 2014

The Ballad of Kenny

"K" , a bouncy, talkative first grader was pretty sharp in the classroom, but definitely the bounciness and chattiness impeded his learning - and that of others, as well.  He seldom lived off the radar.  It just wasn't his nature.

It just happened to be Ash Wednesday.  My boss came in and informed me that Mr. and Mrs. - "K"'s parents wanted to meet with me.  No problem, though I didn't know what was the issue.  Oh, did I get enlightened.  Apparently at a family "Mardi Gras" party the evening before, "K"s cousin who also lived in that first grade classroom informed all present that "K" had been "taped to his chair' by the teacher.  When cousin Sean dropped that turd in the family punchbowl the proverbial excrement hit the fan.  The parents were livid, they were going to sue etc., etc.  I asked the parents to keep an open mind until we could speak with the teacher and get an explanation.

I went to the classroom, got the class covered, and quietly asked Mrs. F.  "Did you tape "K" to his chair?" Her response, "Why, yes, I did.  That happened quite awhile ago."  I really thought I needed some Depends at that point.  I indicated that we needed to meet with the parents and get some resolution to the matter.

Mrs. F. indicated to the parents that "K" had been exceedingly bouncy and kept getting out of his seat and walking around.  She used the word discipline and the dad went ballistic.  "No one disciplines my child.  That is my responsibility. " And he went on at length about his responsibility as a parent.  The pronouncements were dramatic and loud.  He was going to sue everyone including the Pope. 

I tried my best to get things settled down, but I was never clear on exactly what this "tape" incident was.  As a final gut punch, the mother burst into tears and said, "I'm pregnant.  We lost our last baby.  I can"t handle this.  I'm afraid I'm going to lose this baby."  Talk about throwing gasoline on the fire.  I ended our meeting by stating "I understand your concern.  Please feel free to meet with my boss.  Your child comes first, you need to do whatever you need to do."  They met with the big guy, but nothing ever happened.

Fast forward years later, Mrs. F. and I were discussing that situation.  She said, "I don't know what the big deal was.  I just strung some masking tape from the front of his desk to the back. (The desks were the old fashioned one armed type with the books contained underneath.)  It was loose.  I also made a large square with the tape on the floor surrounding his desk, and told him he could move around in that square.  At no time did any tape touch his body.  He could easily get up and move around!"  For the love of Pete.  That info never came out when we spoke with the parents, but they never gave the teacher a chance to explain.

My take on the whole thing?  Mom and Dad were embarrassed that Sean ratted out "K" at a family party.  There was a strong competition between the two cousins and they liked tattling on each other, but a family party took it into another dimension.  I don't really recall what the parents did, but I believe they removed him from the school.  Well, you win some, and you lose some.  I think that no one "won" this one!

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